Sunday, August 08, 2010

[DVD] Gallants (打擂台 / Da Lui Toi) (2010)

This was the film that made my trip to the 34th Hong Kong International Film Festival worthwhile, and I had rated it highly since then. It's always a fuzzy feeling when you sit through a film that has plenty of heart and sincerity, and what more coupled with mass entertainment value while not losing sight of its theme, reminding the youths of today that challenges are always everywhere, and if the older generation had tackled the same head on back then, so can one do so provided that there's determination and perseverance.

Like how it was explicitly mentioned, don't fight if you don't want to lose, but if you want to fight, then you must fight to win.

You can read my review here, as well as see the Stage Appearance and Q&A Session during its World Premiere in Hong Kong during the HK International Film Festival earlier this year.

The Region Free DVD by Kam & Ronson presents the film in gorgeously crisp anamorphic widescreen format, just the way as I watched it on the big screen. Audio is available in either Cantonese Dolby Digital EX or DTS Digital Surround ES, or Mandarin Dolby Digital, and Subtitles come in English, and Traditional and Simplified Chinese. Scene selection is available over 12 chapters.

The Special Features section contain the usual Trailer (1:50) presented in anamorphic widescreen format with subtitles, and a Gallery consisting of 16 stills in a thumbnailed gallery menu which is selectable, and the MV (4:12) of the Main Theme by MC Jin, presented in letterbox format which contains clips from the film, and a funny storyline with the three youthful actors Wong You Nam, JJ Jia and MC Jin getting beaten up by a masked martial artist before training and exacting revenge, which comes complete with exaggerated results from famous legendary martial arts moves played primarily for laughs.

The gem amongst the features is the Making Of (49:02) which runs almost 50 minutes, consisting of two distinct sections, the bulk of which is quite off-the-cuff, until the 36 minute mark where a more polished, colour-corrected version of the making of takes over to the end. Presented in letterbox format with subtitles, anyone curious about the behind the scenes process will definitely need to sit through this informative documentary, where we see how the film gets made, the inevitable real injuries inflicted since it's a martial arts action flick coupled with execution by more senior folks, and the usual interviews with every cast member who talk about their characters and experience in making the movie. In fact, you can sense the camaraderie all around where tips and pointers come from all angles, even from executive producer Andy Lau.

Learn about the inspiration about the film and how it actually evolved from one involving a band, through interviews with both directors Derek Kwok and Clement Cheng. Better yet, for the keen eyed you can even spot some scenes that were shot but didn't make it to the final cut, or made it but with a different flavour. Even this making of comes with a mix of action, drama and comedy, which comes courtesy of the behind the scenes look at how MC Jin records the song in the studio - pay attention to his songsheet!

For fans, this DVD is a must-have! And yes, it still remains my must-watch movie of the year. I cannot emphasize just how this has become a favourite film of mine this year!

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